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Swaminarayan Profile

  • Name:
  • Swaminarayan
  • Father:
  • Hariprasad Pande
  • Mother:
  • Premvati Pande

Swaminarayan Biography

Swaminarayan, also known as Sahajanand Swami, is the central figure in Swaminarayan Hinduism, a form of Vaishnavism. Swaminarayan was born as Ghanshyam Pande in Chhapaiya, UP in 1781 in a Brahmin family. He was born on Ram Navami day as the son of Hariprasad Pande and Premvati Pande. He had two siblings. He mastered Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and Ramayana at the age of 7. He lost his parents and left home at the age of 11. He took the name Nilkanth Varni and took a journey. He travelled across India and parts of Nepal to find an ashram that teaches the four primary schools of Hindu philosophy. He asked five questions on the basic Vaishnava Vedanta categories to find the right place. In 1799, after a seven year journey, he settled at Loj, a village in the Junagadh district of Gujarat. He stayed there to meet Ramanand Swami.


Nilkanth's understandings on the concepts of the five eternal elements, together with his mental and physical discipline, inspired senior sadhus of Ramanand Swami. Nilkanth Varni received sannyasa initiation from Ramanand Swami on 20 October 1800 and took the names, Sahajanand Swami and Narayan Muni. At the age of 21, he was appointed successor to Ramanand Swami as the leader of the Uddhav Sampraday, prior to his death. The Uddhav Sampraday henceforth came to be known as the Swaminarayan Sampraday. He proclaimed the worship of one sole deity, Krishna.


Swaminarayan, after assuming the leadership of the Sampraday worked for the poor sectors of the society. He undertook many social service projects and opened almshouses for the poor. He also organized food and shelter during the time of famine and drought. He was an advocacy of women's rights without personal involvement with women. He opposed sati and called it suicide. He was against animal sacrifices and caste systems also. He constructed several Hindi temples and installed deities of Vishnu, Krishna, Radha etc. His noted works include - Muktanand Kavya, Shikshapatri, Vachanamrut, Nishkulanand Kavya and Bhakta Chintamani.

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Updated: February 25, 2014


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